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Mr. Levin 30, Us 21, Mr. Mccain 10, Afghanistan 9, Mr. Cardin 9, Michigan 8, America 8, United States 8, Mccain 7, Mr. Reid 7, Iraq 7, U.s. 7, Maryland 6, Webb 6, Mr. Nelson 6, Florida 5, Mrs. Shaheen 5, Mr. Kyl 5, Arizona 4, New Hampshire 4,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    November 30, 2012
    9:00 - 12:00pm EST  

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and burying them could make a tremendous difference. some of my constituents in scarsdale and larchmont had to wait two and three before they could get power. this is unacceptable. we must continue to fully fund fema and review its practices to make sure it's performing as efficiently and as effectively as possible. we must build better infrastructure. america spends just 2.4% of its economy and infrastructure compared with 5% in europe, and 9% in china. we are to have 21st century economy and live in the real world, 2.4% is not sustainable and not acceptable. we must also accelerate the replacement of natural gas pipeline. during sandy, leaking gas field hundreds of fires including places that destroyed hundreds of homes. and find as you mention so eloquently, we must stop ignoring climate change. i serve on the house energy and commerce committee.
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science is clear. cutting carbon emissions over the long term is key to reducing the risk of extreme weather. so i thank you for the opportunity to testify, and look forward to working together to help our fellow americans feel from hurricanes and, to ensure that we're all better prepared for similar storms of the future. thank you so much. >> thank you represented. and i would go -- welcome. >> thank you, madam chairman. very much appreciate the invitation to speak before this committee today. i am very proud to represent staten island and brooklyn. staten island was one of the hardest hit areas of all new york city. i was on the ground from the moment the storm started. the amount of devastation that i saw was unimaginable. 24 staten islanders lost their lives. families lost everything.
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homes were literally torn off their foundations. some collapsed. large boats, yachts were scattered deepened the neighborhoods piled up on two peoples homes. more than 100,000 were without power for weeks. people slept in a cold, damp home, and for his of to move to a shelter because we were afraid of losing. the streets were dark. they were littered with what was once their home and their personal belongings. and as a community and as a city, we came together and we cleaned up the surface rather quickly. but there are still much deeper and continuing challenges that remain. families are still in shelters. the need for housing is one of
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our top priorities. others are struggling with fema and sba to receive adequate assistance. the our health concerns, fuel spilled into people's yards and homes. raw sewage backed up and filled peoples homes to this evening. homeowners are uncertain about epa guidelines and not rebuilding their homes properly, leaving the house is at risk to be condemned later from old because they will be to stick to live in them. i know we will meet these challenges, and in addition we need to rebuild to prevent future disasters. we need to rethink our zoning laws, and we need to provide the army corps of engineers with adequate funding. so we can fortify our coastlines. sandy recovery is far from over. in fact, it's just beginning. the people of staten island can turn to us here in congress to help them rebuild and recover.
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i think that if we, here in this chamber, do one-tenth of what the community did, came together, as countrymen, as neighbors, as friends, if we can do even one-tenth of that, and i know we won't be rebuilt stronger than ever. without i yield back and thank you again. >> very eloquent testimony. now we'll turn to representative courtney. >> thank you, senator. and again, the urgency of the situation was shown again displayed by the federal reserve which had its reports in from the 12 regions around the country. the good news is nine out of 12 regions were showing good signs of economic growth. the three that were for philadelphia, new york and washington. and it was hurricane sandy which was identified by each one of the governors as the reason why again, we've got really hits the sweet spot here in terms of a good package to help the
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critical part of america, strong economic growth. again, it's so important to all of the priorities that we face as a nation. eastern connecticut, eastern long island sound which runs from mystic, an area which he visited with my predecessors, all the way to new haven has actually experienced more fema events in two years going back to flooding in the spring of 2010, hurricane irene, storm alfred laster, and then hurricane sandy. in our area because the breakwater from long island sound doesn't extend all the way to stonington a. we experienced 90-mile per hour wind gusts that coincided with high tide. andy kay offloading and physical destruction that actually exceeded the hurricanes in 1930 which the old timers always said was a high water mark in terms of bad weather in connecticut are kind of point i wanted to do
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share is that with these four events, again these communities along the shoreline and in the interior, every single time to first responders and local government has risen to the challenge in terms of making sure that immediate first responder issues were met, the 7525 reimbursement that comes from fema again, given the fact we've had competitive series of storms is really starting to affect the ability of these communities to maintain standard operations. so for example, the city of new london which is a very distressed municipality, again did everything they had to do in terms of protecting lives but they're now looking at a structural deficit that again, expenditure triggered that is now going to put at risk possibly laying off firemen and police but then again, resident obama's profit declaration was much appreciated because that kind of took some of the doubt about whether or not spending money is going to again rebound
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and boomerang against him but the fact is we can look at that per capita threshold that triggers a higher be imprisoned, putting this package together at the fact is that these communities deserve that. again, they have experienced just a historic repetition of bad weather that is really now starting to hit bone and muscle in terms of their ability to provide basic functions of local government. again, thank you for holding this hearing, and look forward to working with the senate and the house, bipartisan group to get the right response is. >> representative, thank you. as a former member of local government, there's only times you can go to the well. small tax base, especially coming out of recession when receipts are down and then this hits. i think you make an important point. this committee won't be working with the -- so many of us, not by itself, west coast, east
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coast experience this, they will get very involved in the supplemental pick and i think you make a very important point about local management. thank you. and representative smith, last but not least, the floor is yours. >> thank you so much for convened a very timely and important hearing. madam chairman, hours after hurricane sandy made landfall in new jersey last month, i met with victims, elected officials and emergency responders to survey the damage of our coastal communities and i have about 20 that are right on the water. saw the devastation to lives, homes and businesses brought by this storm. i walked with the mayor of the day after, and the smell of gas, natural gas was so strong, so pungent that if any of us lit a match we would've had an explosion in many homes get burned down to nothingness. the courage and tenacity and resiliency of the victims has been amazing. stories of neighbors helping neighbors with breathtaking kindness by providing shelter, food and warm, dry clothing are
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almost without number. people are at once heartbroken, devastated, yet appreciative of the help they are getting and what they have left. one resident told me the day after sandy demolished his home, he goes, i've lost everything, that at least i'm alive. the first responders and a plethora of emergency management personnel deserve the greatest praise of all. risking their lives to ensure the safety of families and working round-the-clock to aid. the sheriff, oem director and police achieve lead, and others, continue to lead with extreme effectiveness. the magnitude of the damage, madam chairman, is stark yet i remain confident we can rebuild in a smart and in a sophisticated way. using the lessons learned from hurricane irene and now sandy, we can take action that will prevent this level of destruction and even contain the cost to the taxpayers when the
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next powerful weather event hits. new jersey is at most 130 miles of coastline added by severe winds, highways and rising ocean. well, we know that in most areas for the army corps of engineers implemented robust wieners for projects with less damage than there would have been. with the core have built higher burns, they held back the water. where there were loads tunes, water came flooding into for example, in ocean county where the core constructive i burns and wyden's beaches, damage to houses, business and other infrastructure were significantly less than in towns were similar things had not yet been done to the court rejects projects i should say, proved themselves extremely worthwhile and i think we need to continue its work to rebuild where feasible. governor christie for his part focus like a laser beam his estimate is $36.9 billion, a huge sum of money but it is i
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think very, very well documented. preventing flooded homes and businesses is cheaper and more efficient than repairing them. as such we believe is necessary and our delegation is united on this, and cost effectiveness for the federal government to provide the court with emergency funding, finished the beach replenishment jobs that are then reauthorized at the very carefully at those that are on the drawing board at the feasibility of the study level. i thank you again. i would ask my full statement be made a part of the record, but we need to really unite and really go all out to repair and to help those people. spent without objection will put your full statement in the record. it's been noted that this was a bipartisan list of witnesses, and that all of us are saying essentially the same thing, which is that there is untold suffering, that we need to move forward, in a united way to resolve this problem, and meet
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the expectations that people have of us that we would step up and ensure that we rebuild and we rebuild and away with these things don't happen, that we keep in mind the fact that local government, states are looking to us. and i'm very hopeful that we can meet the expectations of the citizens of the region. and also, frankly, the country. there's no one in the country, unless they're really lucky, that hasn't been touched by one of these natural disasters whether it's this one or earthquakes, floods, fire, drought. whether it's england are on the coast. this is the time in a moment that we come together. and i think it was shown by the governor of new jersey, the president of the united states, and heat of a campaign, that we must set that all aside and get this done. and i really thank you for coming over. i know you have a busy, hectic
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day. we're going to put your statement in the record but we're very pleased you king. this hearing stands adjourned. [inaudible conversations] president obama travels to pennsylvania today to push for an extension of the bush era middle-class taxes. mr. obama is trying to reach a deal with congress to avoid some of the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that take effect in january. live coverage from hatfield pennsylvania at noon eastern on c-span. >> program began under wraps who was one of the advisors to president franklin roosevelt. to document the conditions under which people were living. this was back when we didn't have television. we had radio, but a lot of places didn't have electricity so they couldn't listen to the radio broadcasts to find out
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what was going on in other parts of the country. striker, who is an economist from columbia university, he was the head of this project, and in 1939 when kodak introduce color film, they said film to roy stryker to have his photographers try out. see what they could do. kodak was trying to establish a new market, new product and they wanted people who would know how to use it effectively. to try it out and publicize it. >> america of the 1930s and '40s comes to life to the eye of the camera as library of congress curator shares some of the 1600 were photographs taken during the depression and world war ii. american artifacts sunday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. eastern. part of american history tv this weekend on c-span3. >> the u.s. senate is about to is about the gavel and.
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senators hold today to finish up debate and votes on the 2013 defense spending and programs built a this is expected to take votes immediately after cabin entity. a vote is possible for later today. now to live coverage of the u.s. senate here on c-span2.
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the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. o god, you are the source of life and peace. holy is your name forever. we know it is you who turn our hearts toward thoughts of unity. use your power to transform our lives. lord, as our senators face the challenges of today and tomorrow, give them a faith that will not shrink, though pressed by many a foe. may they refuse to tremble on the brink of any earthly woe,
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believing that all things are possible to those who harness faith's power. give them an understanding that puts an end to strife, mercy that quenches animosity, and forgiveness that overcomes vengence. help them, lord, to press on in the battle for truth, righteousness, and justice. we pray in your sacred name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands,
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one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, november 30, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable christopher a. coons, a senator from the state of delaware, to perform the duties of the chai. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, the senate will resume consideration of the defense authorization act. there will be four roll call votes at 9:30 a.m. i ask unanimous consent that all votes after the first vote be 10 minutes in duration. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, this week something rare occurred here in the senate. we debated a bill under regular order.
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no filibusters were mounted, no cloture motions were filed on the motion to proceed. that certainly is a rare occasion. and for that reason, we have had ample time to debate and consider amendments. this is how the process should work. typically over the last few years we've spent weeks running out the clock on endless procedural motions rather than debating important legislation. it's no wonder the senate rarely accomplishes anything when it takes more than a tweak have a vote even to -- more than a week to have a vote even to take up a bill. even in this case, this is an important piece of legislation -- the defense authorization bill -- i didn't have to time cloture to get to the bill, but we spent weeks going back and forth to get this bill to the floor. and even though the bill managers are working mightily to make regular order work, a
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number of senators have advanced nonrelevant amendments. more than 360 amendments have been filed to this bill, many of them nonrelevant. i understand there is a lot of pent-up feelings about why haven't i been able to offer amendments in the last few years? well, we haven't been able to bring up bills. a lot of my colleagues, both democrats and republicans, have come to me asking for a better path forward in this body, this legislative body that we so love. they want the senate to function in the manner that the founders envisioned. they want us to debate legislation to consider relevant amendments and then vote up or down. senators want to see us conclude legislation, pass or fail. let's decide what we're going to do, not avoid doing something.
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they don't want to see more good bills filibustered to death without ever getting a real vote. if a bill is worth bringing to the floor of this body, the united states senate, it should get to the floor so we can start the debate. and one reason we've been able to work with 50, 60 oh amendmens on this bill is because we didn't waste time, more than a week, on a motion to proceed to get to it. if a bill is worth bringing to the floor of this body, it should get to the floor quickly. it deserves and up-or-down vote once we get on it. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the
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leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the is that the will resume consideration of s. 3254, which the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 41, s. 3254, a bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2013 for military activities of the department of defense and so forth and for other purposes. mr. webb: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from virginia. mr. webb: mr. president, i'd like to take a couple of minutes this morning to discuss senator sessions' amendment, which we will be voting on shortly, amendment number 3009, which i cosponsor, and explain my views of why this amendment is important in terms of the balance that this body traditionally and historically should have with the executive branch of our government. there are two clarifications in this amendment that i believe are important in terms of how we
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develop long-term relationships -- security relationships with other countries. the first is that, as we know, recently the president of the united states has entered into what they have termed "an enduring strategic partnership agreement" between the united states and the islamic republic of afghanistan, which proposes to establish an enduring strategic partnership. this has been done without the consent of the congress, and it has been done -- it has been justified based on the authority of the president to use force in order to respond to these incidents that began on 9/11. and i think it is important for us as a body to make the distinction that the authorization for the use of military force does not in and of itself authorize the
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executive branch to enter into long-term security agreements with another country. they can affect the number of forces that are there, it can affect a broad range of governmental issues that are far beyond the use of force in terms of dealing with international terrorism. this is true in our history. it is actually true in the way that these other countries -- iraq and now afghanistan -- have been dealing with the same documents. i can recall during the previous administration when they signed a strategic framework agreement and then began working on a status of forces agreement with iraq. i called at that time for this agreement, the strategic framework agreement, which is a long-term relationship proposed between the united states and iraq, to be submitted to the congress for review. we actually -- i actually to go
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into one of these rooms where you close the door, as if you were reading a top-secret document, even to examine the strategic framework agreement, which was not classified, and which the iraqi parliament voted on twice. we didn't even get to vote on it. i don't think that's the way that our system of government should be working. we're seeing the same situation here with afghanistan. we should not be entering into a long-term security relationship with afghanistan purely at the discretion in terms of the executive branch. the congress should have a part to play in this. and that's the second point, mr. president. the question is, what should the role of the congress be? and i think that's what has paralyzed us as a body for the six years that i have been here in the senate. this is not a treaty. this would not be a treaty, so we wouldn't have to go through the entire consent process of a treaty -- which could paralyze
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our foreign policy. the chair and i both have worked for several years now trying to get the law of the sea treaty into place. it's been bouncing around for decades. but it should be more than what they call consultation. every time we talk to the executive branch -- and i am a former member of the executive branch; i spent four years in the pentagon in the reagan administration -- they say that they have consulted and the definition of a consultation should be the secretary of state calling the chairman of the foreign relations committee or the secretary of defense calling the chairman of the armed services committee or coming over for a meeting. that is not the level of discussion and involvement that the united states congress should have when we are talking about long-term commitments with countries such as afghanistan and iraq. so this amendment is not draconian. it is very sensible. it basically says that in the situation where we have entered
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into this proposed relationship with afghanistan, that the key committees over here in the united states congress should have 30 days to review the documents before they are put into play. there's no great urgency in terms of when these documents are implemented, and it's the same courtesy -- actually, iter- actually, it's not even as far as what the afgha afghani parlit is going to be able to do on the other side. i commend the senator from deciding to come forward with this amendment, and it has my support. and i yield the floor. mr. sessions: mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. sessions: mr. president, i would call up amendment number 300 -- the presiding officer: we are currently in a quorum call. mr. sessions: skilled that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: i would call up amendment 3009, as modified, and ask for its consideration. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, the -- we would need to see the modification before the modification is accepted. mr. sessions: i believe it's at the desk. mr. levin: we would have to reserve the right -- so if you could call up the amendment and then hold off on any
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modifications until we could see them. mr. sessions: mr. president, i'd call up amendment number 3009 and ask for its consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from alabama, mr. sessions -- mr. sessions: i would ask further reading of the amendment be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: and, mr. president, i would just like to say that this amendment arose after senator webb expressed concerns that one of our armed services committee hearing fundamentally that iraq and afghanistan are voting in their parliaments on the status of force agreements, and we're not even seeing the agreement here. so i appreciate his leadership and am glad to work with him on this piece of legislation that i thing moved us in the right direction. i would be pleased to yield the floor and will talk with
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chairman levin to see where we are. i note the absence of a quorum. quorum call:
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mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i just couldn't miss the opportunity to express my appreciation for the service of senator webb. as all of us know, it wouldn't hurt to be reminded, he was a vietnam veteran, one of the most highly decorated veterans in the entire war, a combat leader of men in fierce combat. he served the country in a number of different ways and in this senate. and actually his book "fields of
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fire" remains the premier novel on the vietnam war and is the most studied novel in colleges to this day about the war in vietnam. so at any rate, i just want to share those remarks while we had a minute here and express my appreciation to senator webb for his service to the country and to the senate. i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, on
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the amendment of senator sessions and senator webb -- and, by the way, i thoroughly and totally join with senator sessions in his comments about senator webb. i think he spoke for the entire body when he made those comments. we have agreed that we would do the following. there's a number of changes which need to be made in this amendment which the sponsors have agreed to. there are some additional concerns about this amendment which we believe we can take care of in conference. and so the suggestion was made to senator sessions and senator webb that we voice vote this at this time, and we address some of those concerns and modifications in conference. and i would suggest that we do that at this time. the presiding officer: is there further debate on amendment number 3009? if not, all those in favor say
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aye. all those opposed say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have it. the amendment is agreed to. mr. levin: i think now the order is that we now proceed to consideration of the cardin amendment. mr. cardin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. colin colin i would -- mr. cardin: i would call up amendment 3025. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from maryland mr. cardin for himself and others proposes an amendment numbered 3025. mr. cardin: i ask to dispense with reading of the amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 3025. the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, this amendment would eliminate an arbitrary cap on the civilian
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and contractual workforce. the administration supports this amendment. without this amendment being adopted the department said it will need to make significantly divest workload, impose workload caps. the amount of civilian and traditional workload should be supported by budget. this cap would be like a second sequestration type of cap on the civilian and contractual workforce. my cosponsors include senator akaka, mikulski, begich, brown of ohio, boxer, leahy and tester. i would ask my colleagues to approve the amendment. mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: this amendment which was unanimously approved by the committee as a provision and it would review the plan to reduce civilian and contractual
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personnel by 5%. right now the president's budget request, not counting sequester, would reduce military personnel by 123,900 men and women serving in the military, or 5.5% over five years. since 2001, the civilian personnel and department of defense has increased by 100,000, 16% increase, and a 37% increase in civilian pay costs. the department of defense continues to be top-heavy with headquarters. the office of the secretary will grow by 25% from 2001 to 2017. we all know the department of defense is being downsized so there has to be obviously a commensurate reduction in civilians, which is actually less than what is contemplated in the military. this was unanimously reported,
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and i have had conversations with the secretary of defense who agrees that we need to reduce the civilian personnel as well as the uniformed personnel. i urge my colleagues to reject this amendment. mr. levin: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to proceed for ten seconds? the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: i oppose this amendment. we're cutting military end strength by 5% over the next five years. in this budget situation we have no choice but to cut the defense department civilian, employee and contractor workforces as well. this gives flexibility to the department of defense as to when and where to make the cuts. we've got to make some reductions in the defense budget. this does it in a way which is flexible and necessary. so i too oppose the amendment. mr. cardin: mr. president, how much time do i have remaining? the presiding officer: 16 seconds. mr. cardin: mr. president, the civilian workforce is going to be cut. according to the house armed services committee, over 10,000
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positions will be eliminated in fy 2012 alone. the house bill does not contain this provision. this provision imposes a second cap on civilian and the contractual workers and would -- mr. mccain: i ask for regular order here. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. under the previous order, the question occurs on amendment 3025 offered by the senator from maryland, mr. cardin. mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that the senator from maryland be given an additional 3 minutes if he so desires. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, mr. president. i'm not going to take three minutes. the point i'm bringing up is that what this would do is impose an additional cap on the civilian and contractual. they are already by controlled by law. the law says by mission and budget, that's what it should be. the administration supports this amendment.
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and i would urge my colleagues to approve it. the presiding officer: the question is on the amendment. is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? if not, the yeas are 41. the nays are 53. the amendment is not agreed to. a senator: move to reconsider. mr. levin: move to lay on the table. a senator: move to lay on the table. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from michigan. will the senate be in order. please take your conversations
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outside the chamber while the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order. the senator from michigan. mr. levin: mr. president, there's now going to be a two-minute debate on the menendez amendment on iran sanctions. what senator mccain asked for last night and we again ask for now is that the members let us know which amendments they believe need to be voted on if a roll call vote and debate is necessary, because we are going to attempt to put together a unanimous consent agreement which will lay out the amendments which would be voted on before cloture next monday. is it safe to say? is the leader here? it was our expectation by the end of the day today that cloture is going to be filed by the leader. and we can try to avoid that problem if we can work out a
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finite list of amendments to put in a unanimous consent agreement so we can work towards the final completion of this bill. so i would urge members to, during this period work with our staffs, let them know what amendments they believe must be disposed of prior to the end of this bill. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment -- the senate will be in order. there will now are two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 3232, offered by the senator from new jersey, mr. menendez. the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i want to thank senator menendez and senator kirk for this very important action on sanctions, tightening of sanctions on iraq -- on iran. mr. president, the centrifuges are still spinning in tehran, and we have enacted strong
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sanctions. they have had some effect. but we have not had sufficient effect. i want to thank senator menendez and senator kirk for this language and this amendment. i won't go through a list of all the actions that will be taken against iran, but the screws need to be tightened. this is an important act and it can -- i emphasize "can" -- lead to a way to prevent a conflagration in the middle east. i thank senator menendez for his leadership. i yield. the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. the senate will be in order. the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i thank senator mccain for his support and his words, and the chairman for his help in getting us here. this is a bipartisan amendment that is vital to the u.s. national security and regional stability in the middle east. our most recent sanctions that we passed a year ago 100-0 are working towards crippling iran's economy, but iran hasn't quit
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trying. that's why we need to go further with this amendment, apply additional sanctions to iran's energy port, shipping, ship-building sectors that support their nuclear program. the sales of certain commodities that support those sectors. just this week the iaea said iran has not slowed down its enrichment activities, continues to deny access to inspect facilities, has actually conducted live tests of conventional explosives that could be used to detonate a nuclear weapon. we must make clear to the iranians that toughening out and waiting out is not an option. that it will only get worse. and i hope we have, on behalf of senator kirk, myself, lieberman, casey and many other colleagues, a strong bipartisan vote we had last year. with that, mr. president, i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: there appears to be. the senator from michigan.
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mr. levin: mr. president, i would ask for 30 seconds on this amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. levin: mr. president, i strongly support this amendment. it will continue to tighten the sanctions on iraq -- on iran -- excuse me -- and to bring into strong participation the international community. and this amendment is a continuing effort. the administration has made major efforts. i commend them for it. but this will add great strength to the existing sanctions which are essential to force iran to comply with the international community. now, the administration has raised concerns. we know that about some provisions of this amendment. they've indicated that the amendment does not give them sufficient waiver flexibility. the banking committee has raised some issues. and we will try to address, try to address if we can, in an appropriate way, some of these concerns in conference. but i strongly support this amendment and hope it gets
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unanimous support, or near unanimous support in this body. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question occurs on amendment number 3232. the yeas and nays have been ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their votes on amendment 3232? seeing none, on this amendment the yeas are 94. -- the yeas are 94. the nays are zero. the amendment is agreed to. mr. reid: mr. president, can we have order, please? the presiding officer: the senate will be in order. please take your conversations outside the chamber. the senate will be in order. the majority leader. mr. reid: mr. president, we're fortunate to have two of the most seasoned veterans managing this bill. they understand the legislation. they have worked together for a quarter of a century on this. no one knows this subject matter than these two managers. having said that, they're now going to put their experience to a test because they're going to come up with a finite list.
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people have wanted to start legislating the way we have legislated. that's what we're doing here. as i mentioned this morning, we have about almost 400 amendments having been filed on this bill. but that's not unusual. people have a pent-up desire to offer amendments, and we all understand that. but from that list, these two managers are going to call a number of amendments to come up with a finite list. that is a list of amendments that should be disposed of. now, they're going to do that by unanimous consent. and everyone -- i would hope everyone will cooperate on this. they will be as fair as they can to democrats and republicans. people should look at the list. if they don't like it, then they should talk to one of the managers. but that's the way it is. there will be no more votes today. but by noon today there will be a determination as to whether or not there will be further activity on this legislation. so that -- we have a vote on --
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it's now going to be announced by the chair in just a minute. but i hope everybody understands we've made great progress on this bill. this legislation has passed 51 consecutive years. this will be the 52nd year that we pass this. it would be really untoward and not good to our fighting men and women not to pass this legislation. but once we pass it here that,'s why we can't spend a lot more time on this, this is a massive bill. it has to go to conference with the house. the two managers and the conferees have to work something out so that we'll have a final product here before the end of the year. a senator: would the leader yield? mr. reid: be happy to yield. mr. levin: in addition to putting together a finite list which would be the amendments which would apparently require roll call votes, we will continue to try to clear amendments which can be cleared on both sides. it's the amendments which we believe would require roll call
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votes in order for us to proceed that we're going to put on a finite list. don't give up on amendments just because they're not on the list. if we indicate to you that we have a chance, reasonable chance of clearing those amendments today or monday, we would add those to the possibilities. mr. mccain: i hope my colleagues understand that we're either going to do this finite list or we will have cloture and nonrelevant amendments will automatically fall. so i would hope that everybody would understand that one of the two options, and it seems to me that if we agree on a finite list and then we can have a better chance for amendments to be considered. and i want to thank the majority leader and all of our colleagues for their patients throughout this very difficult process. and i hope that in the interest of achieving the objective of
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passing this legislation, we would allow the amendments that are relevant and debate and votes. mr. reid: mr. president, i would ask all senators to note the word "cloture" did not purse my lips. mr. levin: would all senators please note -- and i want to thank the leader for this -- that he used the word referring to senator mccain and me as seasoned senators rather than our older senators. thank you. the presiding officer: the next amendment to be offered is amendment number 3073. the senator from florida. will the senator please suspend. the senate will come to order. please take your conversations out the chamber so we can proceed. the senate will come to order.
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the senator from florida is recognized. mr. nelson: mr. president, i call up amendment 3073. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: the senator from florida, mr. nelson, proposes amendment numbered 3073. mr. nelson: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator will suspend. under the previous order, there will be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a vote in relation to amendment number 3073. if the senate will be in order, we may proceed. please take your conversations outside the chamber so we may proceed with debate. the senator from florida is recognized. mr. nelson: i can explain this in 60 seconds. this is the widows and orphans offset. it is a moral issue because under the veterans administration, someone that dies service-connected, they get compensation, about $1,100 a
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month for their widow. at the same time many of those people have purchased a life insurance contract, an annuity called the survivors benefit plan. it pays equally the same amount. current law offsets the two. now, the senate has passed this six times in the last decade, and we have whittled away at that offset in conference. but the major part of the offset is still there. that's the essence for the widows and orphans. you've seen the movie "lincoln." remember what lincoln said in his second inaugural address, that the cost of war is born not only by -- is borne not only by those who fight but by their widows and orphans. the presiding officer: the
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senator's time has expired. who yields time in opposition? mr. corker: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: mr. president, i strongly support the policy that senator nelson has laid out. as a matter of fact, i have voted for it every single time he's brought it to the floor, and i thank him for pointing out this problem that exists. however, the circumstances are different this time. we are all operating under the budget control act. the nation is watching as we try to deal with the fiscal issues that are before us. the amounts that are in the budget control act are counted as it relates to dealing with our deficit. and unfortunately, this is not offset. and over the next decade violates the budget by $7 billion. so for that reason, mr. president, the pending measure, amendment number nelson 3073 to s. 3254, the national
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defense reauthorization act, would cause the underlying legislation to exceed the authorizing committee section 302-a allocation of the new budget authority or outlays. therefore, i raise a point of order against the measure pursuant to section 302-f of the congressional budget act of 1974. and i encourage all of us who want to solve this problem before year end to vote with me. thank you. mr. nelson: mr. president in. the presiding officer: the senator from florida is recognized. mr. nelson: i move to waive and ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there any senators wishing to vote or to change their vote? seeing none, on this vote, the yeas are 58, the nays are 34. 3/5 of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. the point of order is sustained and the amendment falls. without objection. mr. kyl: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mr. kyl: thank you. mr. kyl: if the democratic manager of the bill has nothing ready at this moment, i would like to modify an amendment at
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the desk. it is 3123. i ask that the amendment be withdrawn and the senate consider instead the amendment that i have placed at the desk. mr. levin: would the senator yield? mr. kyl: yes. mr. levin: is this the amendment that has been amended after discussions with senator kerry? mr. kyl: that is correct. mr. levin: is it your intent to send a new amendment in to the desk? mr. kyl: the original amendment numbered 3123 would be withdrawn. the modification of that amendment as written by senator kerry and i and i believe cleared by your side would be the pending amendment. modifying it, not withdrawing it. mr. levin: in other words, it would be the same numbered amendment as modified? mr. kyl: yes. mr. levin: what is the intent of my friend from arizona to do with that amendment now? mr. kyl: to make about a 45-second statement. mr. levin: to have it passed? mr. kyl: well, eventually.
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i presume there are no more votes today. mr. levin: not to have it passed at this time by voice vote? mr. kyl: correct. although i will say i am not going to ask for a roll call vote at the end? mr. levin: at some point you would take a roll call vote on it? mr. kyl: yes. this amendment is also offered by senators lieberman, inhofe, risch, lugar, wicker, ayotte, collins, and vitter. i do understand it has been cleared by both sides. i do appreciate the cooperation with senator kerry. the amendment provides that the administration shall brief the appropriate committees on the dialogue between the united states and russia on issues related to or limits on or controls on nuclear arms, missile defense systems or long-range conventional strike systems. i think it's the administration's interest to consult with the congress and keep us adequately briefed on these discussions because they could, of course, eventually lead to an agreement which might
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then require the advice and consent of the senate. i note former senator arthur vandenberg once said if i'm going to be on the crash landing, i want to be on the takeoff. meaning it's much easier for the administration to obtain our consent if they seek our advice during the consultation process. i will confess this amendment was prompted by recent press stories, including one on november 8 which reported that our ambassador to russia, michael mcfall, said, and i quote -- "president obama would like to have a serious conversation with president putin about a further round of reductions in nuclear weapons to build on the new start treaty." end of quote. and i conclude, mr. president, that another round of negotiations or discussions with russia concerning nuclear arms will be extremely complicated and important, is likely to concern missile defenses and conventional long-range strike systems, about which i know i and others have some misgivings, and i think this suggests the necessity and desirability of the kind of consultation that we
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would be requesting of the administration prior to any agreement being reached. so i appreciate my colleagues' indulgence. at the appropriate time, i would ask for the approval of the amendment. the presiding officer: the amendment is so modified. mr. levin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: first, let me thank senator kyl for the way in which he has worked with senator kerry on this. it is very constructive, it is very important, and i want to just tell him how much we all appreciate that working together. i believe that the senator shaheen is going to want to be recognized for up to ten minutes to talk on an amendment. mrs. shaheen: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: thank you, mr. president. i rise to speak to a provision that's actually in -- already in this bill, the ndaa authorization bill before us. it's a provision that would provide for reproductive health
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parity for women in the military. you know, we talk a lot in this chamber and in the armed services committee about the service of our men and women in uniform. we talk about their courage in the face of our enemies. we talk about their selflessness as they continually deploy around the world, sometimes uprooting their families and sometimes leaving them behind. we talk about our responsibilities to the men and women who are serving from the tools they will need to accomplish their missions to the support they've earned when they return home. i'm pleased, as i know we all are, about the growing recognition of the unprecedented contribution that our female service members are making to our national defense. there are over -- there are 214,000 women serving in our armed forces. they make up over 14% of our total armed force. women are flying our f-15 strike
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eagles, apaches and blackhawks. women are training to be marine corps infantry officers and working alongside our special operations units in afghanistan. women are an integral part of nearly all of our military operations. and earlier this year, the department of defense opened 14,000 new positions to women. when he was asked about the move, secretary panetta said -- quote -- "through their courage, sacrifice, patriotism and great skill, women have proven their ability to serve in an expanding number of roles on and off the battlefield." end quote. the women serving in the united states military continue to overcome barriers and strive for new opportunities to serve their country. they have carried on the finest traditions of our military and should make us all very proud. yet, despite their service, women in the military continue
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to face discrimination when it comes to reproductive health care. in the united states, women receiving health care through medicaid, medicare, the federal employees health benefits program and the indian health service, so all of the federal health care programs. all have access to the care they need if they face pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. even women incarcerated in federal prison are protected in the case of rape, yet right now our women in the military are not granted the same access to abortion services in cases of rape or incest. to be clear, a general ban on abortion coverage remains for millions of women who receive health care through the federal government. however, in nearly all cases, these bands just for coverage if the life of the -- bans allow
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for coverage if the life of the mother is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. it is simply unfair that military women continue to be denied such reproductive health care. like so many of us in the chamber, i was so encouraged that during this year's markup of the ndaa, a strong bipartisan majority of my colleagues on the armed services committee, including chair levin and ranking member mccain, supported providing reproductive health parity to our service women. the ndaa bill before us will finally bring the department of defense policy on abortion coverage in line with the policies governing the rest of the federal government. over the coming weeks, i'll continue to work with my colleagues here in the senate, many of whom are long time champions on this issue, to ensure that this provision is included during the conference with the house and ultimately
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signed by the president. in the end, this is an issue of basic equality. women serving in our armed forces should be able to access the same reproductive health services as the civilians they protect. access to care should no longer be one of the sacrifices that women in the united states military are forced to make. women in the military deserve the best, most comprehensive health care we can provide. i'm encouraged by the bipartisan support this provision has received thus far, and i'm hopeful that we'll see it become law this year. it is way past time and it is the least we can do for our female service members. thank you very much, mr. chairman, and thank you to the chair and ranking member for their support on this provision.
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mr. sessions: mr. president? mr. mccain: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: i want to thank the senator from new hampshire. she is an advocate and a very active and important member of our committee. i also would like to thank her for arranging yesterday's event on behalf, in memory of one of the great members of this body, warren rudman. i thought it was a wonderful event, and i thank the senator -- both senators from new hampshire for arranging what i think was a very fitting tribute to one of the real giants of the united states senate in the new hampshire tradition, so i thank the senator. mrs. shaheen: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. mrs. shaheen: if i could just reply, i very much appreciate the senator's remarks about yesterday's reception, and especially the really wonderful tribute you made to senator rudman who is a real giant not just in the senate but of course
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in new hampshire. it was such a remarkable collection of celebrated political people from this country's history there yesterday to give tribute. i so appreciate that. and also, senator mccain, i so much appreciate your support for this provision in the bill and thank you for that. mr. sessions: mr. president? mr. levin: will the senator yield? the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. mr. levin: before senator shaheen leaves the floor, i just want to add my thanks to her to those that have been expressed by senator mccain. senator shaheen is indeed an extraordinary member of this body and a great -- a great asset for us on the armed services committee. i very much appreciate her work on so many issues, including on the one that she just spoke about. as to yesterday, i so much regret that i was unable to be at that event yesterday for senator rudman because my
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memories of him are really, really warm. i very much had looked forward to being there, could not be there, but i know that senator mccain, and i don't know who else spoke. i have heard rave reviews about the quality of the speeches. mr. mccain: the vice president of the united states was also attending. mr. levin: and i understand there was also a quantity -- a fairly long speech of the vice president which delayed things on the floor of the senate by a few hours -- by a few minutes, excuse me, but i hear it was a wonderful, wonderful moment and a tribute. i just only wish i could have been there. mr. mccain: as my friend from michigan knows, the vice president of the united states is not notorious for his brevity. mrs. shaheen: mr. president, yes, there was an interesting bet between former secretary cohen and the vice president relative to who would have the shortest speech and i think the
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vice president lost that. but thank you for your kind words. you would have loved it. mr. levin: and i didn't have to be there to know that the vice president would lose any bet where he is betting anyone that he will be shorter than anybody on any subject. the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, 15 months ago, in august, the debt ceiling of the united states was reached. that is, we had borrowed all the money that we could lawfully borrow, and a big discussion occurred. a number of things came out of that. finally, it was agreed to raise the debt ceiling so the government could continue to borrow almost 40 cents of every dollar we spend now is borrowed. it's unbelievable but it's true. and we agreed that over ten years, we would reduce spending by $2.1 trillion.
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that's a lot of money, but compared to what we were spending, it's not so much. for example, we were expected to spend over the next ten years $47 trillion over the basically $37 trillion we would spend now if we maintained the current level, and we agreed to reduce it from $47 trillion to $45 trillion. so spending over ten years would grow by $8 trillion instead of $10 trillion. not something that would destroy the republic, but it was a step of noticeable weight to change the debt course of america. we still remain after that agreement totally on an unsustainable debt course. we have more work to do. but the point i want to make is it passed both houses of congress, had support of both
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leaders and the president of the united states. it didn't freeze spending in a lot of things, it didn't cut spending in a lot of things, but it did reduce the growth of spending and give us some real teeth through that on the certain accounts, not all the accounts. well, this today was the third vote in recent weeks in which this senate has said we will abide by and adhere to the agreement we reached. we will not spend more than we agreed to spend just august a year ago. this is a ten-year agreement. we promised to stay within those limits for ten years. and so 15 months, a little over a year, we now had the fifth bill on the floor of the senate that violated that agreement. so the last three -- this is the third one -- members of the senate have said no, we're not
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going to keep violating those amendments. now, this -- this benefit, pension benefit program reform is something i have favored. i worked with senator nelson years ago, i was a cosponsor of the legislation, and we've tried a lot of ways to do it. but we agreed to spending limitations, and senator nelson's amendment today had a great goal, something i think we can figure a way to advance for sure, but there was no reduction of spending and no pay-for for this bill. it just wasn't. at the last moment he walks in, $7 billion almost, $7 billion in new spending, none of which is paid for in blatant, direct, total violation of the
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agreement we reached in august a year ago. now, we got to remember, the republican members, senator carper, i appreciate him breaking ranks and voting to uphold the budget. members wanted to vote for this and really felt bad that they were not able to allow the amendment to advance because it violated the budget. but it was proud of that. i think that's the right thing for america. we can do this, i believe a message is being sent, even you bring up a popular bill like the sportsmen's bill, i was for that, but it wasn't -- it wasn't paid for or it spent more money, it spent more money than we agreed to in the budget control act. so this bill would have spent more money, $6.6 trillion more than we agreed to. we blocked the sportsmen's bill
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and it was $140 million more than we agreed to and the senate said no even though many of us liked what was in that bill. this one was $6.6 billion above what we agreed to, and even with the good cause we said we should adhere to the limits we've got. and if we've got new priorities we want to fund, can't we find wasteful spending somewhere in our government? and one of the disfungdz we have -- dysfunctions we have, one of the reasons it's so hard to get something like that accomplished and fund a new spending program without borrowing the money, just increasing the debt, is that everybody is jealous of their account. how silly is that? we should all be focusing on the national interest. when you say we're going to reduce this program over here and we're going to pay for the pension benefits for widows,
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people automatically say no, you can't take my money. but it's all the taxpayers' money, isn't it? it's not this senator's money, it's not this committee's money, it's not this program's money, it's all the taxpayers' money. we've been in denial. we think business as usual is going to continue. but this country has never, ever, ever been in a more systemic, dangerous position with regard to our finances, never. we've had expert testimony on that. and so we've got to be honest about it. we've got to do the right thing and we just can't have a senator waltz in even with something we'd like to support and just vote for it when it adds $6.6 billion above the amount we agreed to spend. so that's the way i -- and i just want to say that because
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it's a troubling situation for us. and one more thing. the president of the united states is the one person that speaks for america. he's now pushing and advancing an agenda that seems to me to be to raise taxes but is it to reduce spending? no. it seems that the new taxes are to fund new spending. but we don't have the numbers. i'm going to be asking them, let's see the numbers, i'm the ranking member on the budget committee, i want to see how much new spending they've got and how much new taxes they've got. and finally let me make a -- and if it's like what we've been seeing, it has a lot of flimflam. budget projection that was voted down 100%, not a single vote, his budget that he sent out earlier this year, increased
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taxes $1.8 trillion but increased spending $1.4 trillion. so it didn't pay down the debt. i hope the president will look the american people in the eye and tell them we are on an unsustainable course. i'm not -- i've not heard him say that. why won't he say that? his own debt commissioner erskine bowles said we're facing the most predictable crisis in our nation's history. why won't the president say we can't continue on this path and we've got to change? why won't he say we've got to tighten our belt across government? that's -- so this is one of the problems we have at the end of the year. i want to say to my friends who may have seen this differently that those people who voted just a few minutes ago to uphold the budget, not to waive the budget, but to stay with the budget we signed, i believe
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we're doing what they truly felt was in the best interest of america. and i don't think they should be in any way accused of being hard hearted. and it's time for us to at least agree to stand by the numbers that we've agreed to. mr. president, i thank the chair and would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new mexico. mr. udall: thank you, mr. president. and i rise today to talk, solely to talk about two of my amendments to the defense authorization bill. i will maybe at a later point speak on some of the other amendments i have filed but i'm not going to offer the amendments at this time. and i first rise to speak on the
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udall-corker amendment 3049. last year i introduced s. 1798, the open burn pits registry act with senator corker. we have met with veterans and active duty members of the military and they have told us how important it is that we act now on this issue. the senate veterans' affairs committee agrees and has passed the legislation after holding hearings. this week senator corker and i introduced amendment 3049 to the defense authorization because our veterans and active duty members suffering from exposure to burn pits should not have to wait any longer. i began this work because of service members like master sergeant jesse baca, a member of the new mexico air national guard and his wife maria. master sergeant baca was stationed in iraq and exposed to burn pits. because of the burn pits, he
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has battled cancer, chronic brocheoso is, asthma, ptsd and numerous other ailments. he knows firsthand the suffering caused by burn pits and the need for answers. in both afghanistan and iraq, open air burn pits were widely used. disposing of trash and other debris was a challenge. commanders had to find a way to dispose of the waste while concentrating on the important mission at hand. the solution that was chosen, however, had serious risks. pits of waste were set on fire, sometimes using jet fuel for ignition. for example, the air samples at joint base balad turned up some nasty stuff, particulate matter, chemicals that formed
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from incomplete burning of oil, gatt st gas and other substances, also volatile compounds such as benzene, which is known to cause leukemia and die objection ins associated with agent orange. a scientific study by the lung association found emissions from burning waste contain fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and various irritant gases such as night row send die oxides that can scar the lungs. all this was in the air and our veterans had begun to raise the alarm. we are forever in debt for their service, so we must ask the question how did these burn pits impact the health of our returning heroes? this amendment is a step towards finding the answers we owe them. it's supported by numerous groups including burn pits 360,
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veterans of foreign wars, the association of the u.s. navy, retired enlisted association, uniformed services disabled retirees and the national military association. i urge the senate to adopt this amendment so master sergeant baca and his fellow veterans can begin to heal. and now, mr. president, i want to speak about a second amendment. this is an amendment that deals with the issue of buying american solar. mr. president, i rise to speak on this amendment only, udall amendment number 3150 sponsored by senators schumer, bingaman and wyden. solar power increases energy security for american military installations. but we should be using buy american compliant solar panels. the department of defense is a leader on utilizing solar power. not for environmental reasons but for energy security reasons.
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when we use taxpayer funds to support military solar power we need a level playing field for u.s. solar manufacturers in the contracting process. today we have u.s. military bases with chinese solar that violates the trade laws, but there is no u.s. solar on chinese military bases. the 2011 defense authorization bill took an important step to clarify d.o.d.'s buy american act requirements and making sure that they apply to solar. my amendment is needed to close existing loopholes in the 2011 buy american solar requirements. it would ensure buy american standards apply to solar on d.o.d. property that is used to meet d.o.d. energy goals. this amendment is nearly identical to the one passed on voice vote last year but dropped
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in conference with the house. the change from last year's amendment is a one-year term so that we can test this provision. c.b.o. estimated the cost of this amendment as insignificant so we know this amendment does not raise costs, the difference in price is very small, chinese solar now has significant tariffs. nations in the w.t.o. are not discriminated against, buy american does not bar nations that allow reciprocal access to u.s. firms. existing exemptions such as availability and cost still apply. we do not expect this to harm d.o.d.'s procurement in any way, and i would once again urge the senate when we have the opportunity to adopt this amendment. and so with that, mr. president, i would note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: quorum call:
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